Know the largest retailer in the world?
Yes, of course. It's Amazon.
And before that?
Well...not sure about that, are you?
It was Walmart.
You probably haven't heard of it.
But there is story that's common with both.
In its heyday, Walmart built its stores
Next to independent retailers.
That's like Hilton opening a swanky hotel
Next to Ritam Getaways.
You can't compete with such giants.
They are not only bigger stores,
With more variety, better quality
And cheaper prices,
But are also more resourced,
With bigger marketing budgets,
And, wider and deeper networks.
The independent retailers had two choices:
Adapt or be squashed.
And most were squashed.
For a long time,
Walmart has been accused of killing
The neighborhood Ma' & Pop shops.
And it's now Amazon's turn.
It has not only become
The online behemoth store of everything,
But it’s now expanding beyond merchandise,
Into services as varied as
Pharmacy, financial services, groceries
And even beauty shops –
Literally, eating up every corner of commerce.
So, what do you do,
When an Amazon comes for your lunch?
What do you do,
When someone comes along,
With better skills,
More passion and drive,
More money and status,
And better networks to boot?
And, mark these words, come they will.
Remember the Desiderata?
There will always be,
Greater and lesser persons
We rarely have problems
Responding to pressures from below,
But few of us know how to respond
To people and circumstances,
That are better than us.
Most are intimidated, and cope out,
Others, kill themselves slowly, with jealousy,
Or, simply, get squashed out of the game.
But there is a better way.
And that's what those retailers that survived,
They didn't compete.
They weren’t intimidated.
They, instead, embraced and learnt
Adapted and adopted,
And then pivoted on their strengths,
Ultimately, becoming unique
That's why knowing your strengths,
And constantly developing,
And leveraging them,
Is the key to progress and success.
When it comes to infinite games,
You don't compete against the best.
It’s mostly futile,
Because the objective of an infinite game
Ain’t to win,
But to perpetuate the game.
A better strategy then,
Is to strive to co-exist.
Don't be afraid of them.
Embrace them, instead.
Learn from them.
Let their greatness inspire you.
And above all
Let their challenge make you better,
By revealing to you, what you are not,
What you truly are,
And what only you, can deliver.
Don't compete. Be different
Be a linchpin!
*Today’s reflection was inspired by Shep Hyken.
** If interested, Seth Godin's Linchpin: Are you indispensable?, is a good read on this point.